Horror movies often draw their inspiration from books. It takes a lot of talent to make a book truly terrifying; without jumpscares and music scores to offer cheap thrills, books have to do a lot of work to horrify an audience. When a book horrifies, it’s much more likely for that book to end up with a movie deal. Out of this list of terrifying horror movies with scary basements, consider these, which were all based on books.
The Exorcist was based on a book by the same name by William Peter Blatty. One of the reasons the movie is just as scary as the book may be the fact that William Peter Blatty also wrote the screenplay for the movie, allowing him to bring all the scares from the book back into the movie.
This movie is as interesting as a cultural phenomenon as it is as a movie in its own right. Although it’s definitely a scary movie, the basement isn’t as scary as some other movies in this list; the main character, Regan, finds a Ouija board in the basement, which she uses to contact a demon.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show was based on a musical called The Rocky Horror Show, which Richard O’Brien wrote the lyrics and book for. Though the original is technically a script instead of a book, it definitely crafted an interesting tale that he was able to take to the screen with the help of director Jim Sharman.
In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, everything is intentionally campy and humorous rather than generally horrifying. One of the main characters, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, keeps his laboratory in the basement of a British castle. Here, he keeps his Medusa Transducer, which allows him to turn people into statues.
The Amityville Horror
One of the reasons The Amityville Horror is such an interesting story is because the main “characters,” the Lutz family, allege that the story is true. Author Jay Anson managed to create the story from around 45 hours of tape-recorded recollections that the Lutz family provided to him when he started writing.
Although there are serious doubts regarding the veracity of the claims from The Amityville Horror, the movie is certainly a daunting work of horror. One particularly scary scene happens in the basement, when the Lutz family discovers the Red Room, which is a small and hidden basement room.
Of any movie, Psycho may be one of the ones with the most impact on the film world as a whole. However, it was based on Psycho by Robert Bloch, which is in turn considered one of the most influential horror books of the 1900s. This incredible work set up the movie to be awe-inspiringly great.
In the movie, the main character spends some time at Norman Bates’ house. A horrifying scene occurs wherein she takes a trip down to the fruit cellar, where she finds the mummified corpse of Norman Bates’ mother.
The Silence of the Lambs
Although The Silence of the Lambs was a movie that introduced many audiences to cannibal serial killer Hannibal Lecter, the book The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is actually a sequel. The public’s love of Hannibal Lecter was one of the things that prompted the book to become a movie.
In the movie, a strange war between two serial killers is one of the driving forces of the film. Buffalo Bill, who FBI agent Clarice Starling is trying to capture, kidnaps women, then puts them in a dry well in his basement to starve them so he can easily skin them after he kills them.
There are many things that can make something terrifying. A basement is a natural place to craft a terrifying scene, and many books and movies take that and run with it. Whether the basement shows up in the book or only in the movie, these horrifying basements have a lot to offer viewers.
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